Call of the wild for Blackpool Zoo worker

2 October 2014

A chance meeting with an elephant led a six year old girl to pursue a really wild career that started in Blackpool and is set to continue in South Africa.

Sarah Chantry, an Education Officer at Blackpool Zoo, is embarking on the trip of a lifetime to work at the Daktari Bush School and Wildlife Orphanage in South Africa.

The Liverpool John Moore’s University graduate will coordinate the volunteers and oversee teaching at the bush school as well as provide care for the animals at the orphanage.

Since 2012 Sarah, who lives in St Annes, has been a member of Blackpool Zoo’s education team and has been responsible for providing educational sessions to schools, presenting daily animal talks to the public, holding educational animal experiences as well as helping to organise conservation and fundraising events.

Sarah said: “I first fell in love with animals when I was about six and went on a day out to a zoo with my family. I was stood by the elephant enclosure when their female, Wendy, waved her trunk in our direction. I was mesmerised from that moment onwards.

“Since then I have studied Zoology at university and gained a first class honours award for my dissertation on the study of Blackpool Zoo’s Asian Elephants.

“Working with the team at the zoo has allowed me to gain invaluable experience and get a good grounding of what aspects of the job I enjoy the most. I’m extremely lucky that I get to take my skills and knowledge to benefit children in South Africa.

“In the long term I would really love to settle in Australia but who knows, I may fall in love with South Africa.”

Dakari Bush School and Wildlife Orphanage’s mission is to inspire and educate local children to care for their environment. The organisation also supply school curriculums in a range of subjects, including English, Maths and Science.

The non-profit organisation gives local, underprivileged children the opportunity to discover, learn and become passionate about wildlife and conservation.


Picture shows: Sarah Chantry

More information about Blackpool Zoo

Blackpool Zoo announced record figures for the fifth consecutive year in 2013 as it continued with investment in facilities and attractions, introduces new species and enjoys success in international breeding programmes for endangered animals.

Visitor numbers were up 10 per cent, school visits seven per cent, internet bookings saw an 55 per cent increase, membership sales rose by 10 per cent, which all led to a 12 per cent rise in revenue.

Blackpool Zoo is owned by Parques Reunidos, the second largest European leisure parks operator and a leading world-wide player. The zoo is home to over 1,500 mammals, birds, reptiles and invertebrates set amidst thirty-two acres of mature woodland and lakes. 

The zoo’s signature animals include elephants, giraffes, big cats, gorillas, orang-utans, sea lions, primates, zebras and kangaroos. It is open every day of the year, apart from Christmas Day, from 10am.

For further information please contact:

Paula Holden or Abi Blundell at ICG on 01772 679383 or email [email protected] or [email protected]

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